LibriVox recording of The Variable Man, by Philip K. Dick. Read by Gregg Margarite (1957-2012).
Predictability has come a long way. The computers of the future can tell you if you’re going to win a war before you fire a shot. Unfortunately they’re predicting perpetual standoff between the Terran and Centaurian Empires. What they need is something unpredictable, what they get is Thomas Cole, a man from the past accidently dragged forward in time. Will he fit their calculations, or is he the random variable that can break the stalemate? – The Variable Man first appeared in the September, 1953 issue of Space Science Fiction magazine. (Summary by Gregg Margarite)
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July 19, 2012 Subject:
Story Good /Reading Awful
The story is great but unlike the other reviewer, I found the reading to be extremely difficult to endure. At first, I thought it was a computer or some sort of software doing the reading. It is monotone and every word is...spaced... out...like and exaggerated Capt. Kirk impression. Very unnatural. If you can put up with that, you'll enjoy the brilliance of Philip K. Dick who was so far ahead of his time.
May 12, 2010 Subject:
Such a cool story
John Cole is the variable man from the past who is brought by accident to the future. It's a good thing too, because without him, the Terrans really can't fix Icarus, the bomb destined to free the Terrans from Centarian blockade.
Ah, but what would a story be without an antagonist? Enter Reinhart, the shoot-em-first-and-ask-questions-later general who doesn't like variables in his war calculations. In fact, he prefers dead variables.
I have to say, for a short story, this one really kept me listening. It was great! The reader is also great; I enjoy his style of reading. Enjoy!